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As an alternative to hysterectomy, a uterine fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive procedure designed to shrink or eliminate fibroids. UFE may help you avoid painful and costly surgery and also alleviate your symptoms sooner. With little or no impact on fertility, embolization is a popular option for those who want the possibility of future pregnancy.

How UFE Works

The UFE procedure can take as little as 30 minutes. You’ll receive conscious sedation so you’re awake, but comfortable and relaxed. A local anesthetic will be used at the site of a small incision just above the femoral artery in your groin. Your doctor will insert a small catheter into this artery and guide it up and into one of the uterine arteries.

To help your doctor determine the location of the fibroids and which blood vessels to target, a contrasting fluid is used. Then they will release small particles that will be carried into those vessels with the blood flow. There will be another imaging test to ensure that the particles have effectively stopped the blood from reaching the fibroids.

Recovery & Follow-up

After returning home from the outpatient facility, you will need to lie flat for a few hours. This prevents blood from pooling and clotting at the incision site. Pain medications help to control the pain you may feel during the first 24 hours after the procedure. Post-embolization syndrome is common and can cause a low-grade fever, fatigue or stomach upset. It typically resolves on its own in a week or less.

Follow up with your doctor is required to make sure there are no signs of infection. Regular MRIs help to ensure that the fibroids have shrunk and no additional fibroids have appeared.

What You Can Expect

Over the few months after your uterine fibroid embolization, you should start to notice your symptoms lessen. Heavy bleeding during and between periods should slow, and urinary incontinence should become less frequent. Any fullness or pressure in the abdomen will start to decrease. Older women may see the early onset of menopause.

To learn more about uterine fibroid embolization and find out if this is the best non-surgical fibroid treatment for you, call our office at (212) 254-0149 or contact us online to schedule your appointment with Dr. Karl Zhang.